Ross Taylor backs top order on seaming pitch

CONFIDENT: Ross Taylor believes New Zealand's batsmen have what it takes to grind out an innings on a difficult pitch.
CONFIDENT: Ross Taylor believes New Zealand's batsmen have what it takes to grind out an innings on a difficult pitch.

Green seamer or not, Ross Taylor has every confidence New Zealand's test batsmen can continue to improve and put their side in a winning position in Dunedin this week.

University Oval turf manager Tom Tamati has produced a much greener deck this time, but Taylor remains confident the top order can deliver in the first test against the West Indies, starting tomorrow.

The side has two early goals - batting at least four sessions and scoring 400 in the first innings.

Against a West Indies attack, where none of the bowlers have played international cricket in New Zealand, this would be the perfect time to achieve them.

"On green seamers, you just have to give it to the bowler sometimes; they're going to dominate and you might play and miss a few times, but the key is to not get too frustrated at it," he said.

"As in most test batting, you might have to put away a few shots and soak it up for a bit."

Taylor said his side had the skills to survive any early zip the tourists could extract and expected the top order to rise to the challenge.

"On wickets that o a little bit, even more onus goes on the openers to see off the new ball. But as it showed in our last game for CD, even on green seamers, it swings and moves for 35-40 overs and if you can get through that stage when the ball's hard, with the Kookaburra ball, it gets easier.

"That's when, if you've done the hard work, you can reap the benefits."

Taylor was sent home from the side's tour to the subcontinent to prepare for the home summer but a subsequent knee injury prevented him from doing as much work as he would have liked.

He mentally refreshed, spent plenty of time facing throw downs from New Zealand A coach Grant Bradburn and said he got a heap out of his match for Central Districts despite scoring just 10 and a duck.

"Even if you don't score the runs, it's valuable because it's how you apply yourself when you go out to bat. The mental preparation, waiting to bat, all those type of things, that all makes you feel more comfortable ahead of this game. You can't do all those things with throw-downs, there isn't the consequence with throw-downs."

Taylor also has a wealth of experience to fall back on and is surrounded by a top order keen to stamp their mark on the summer early.

Another member of that top order was giving little away about his chances of playing tomorrow.

Kane Williamson is returning from broken left thumb and while selection boss Bruce Edgar said he was a 95 per cent chance of playing, the man himself seemed less sure.

"It comes down to the medical staff and myself talking. That's what we need to discuss [the risk] because it won't be 100 per cent and the way it can be managed still needs to be discussed depending on the recovery in the next few days."

He said general batting did not hurt the dodgy digit and he would not be taking any painkillers, but was keen to get back on the park for what would be his 28th test.

"You want to be playing, don't you, a test for your country. It's always a great place to play."

If Williamson doesn't play, Aaron Redmond wil take his place.

Meanwhile, Tamati told Fairfax Media he was pleased with pitch preparation and testing had shown the wicket, one across from the duller pitch used for draws against South Africa and England in the last two summers, was harder too.

After two draws - both affected by rain - Tamati was keen to produce a result wicket.

"I think we played it a bit safe, especially with the opposition bowlers that were here," he said.

"This time we're a bit more comfortable. We're happy with how it's coming along and I think there'll be a bit in it."

With tests likely to be played at Christchurch's Hagley Oval soon, Tamati could be under pressure to produce a more entertaining pitch or risk losing the South Island test to Christchurch.

Fairfax Media